Switzerland, German, China...the whole world? Copyright protection abroad

Various international agreements provide for the protection of copyright and related rights. But why are such agreements even necessary?


Every legal system only has national legal force. This means that the Swiss Copyright Act only protects works in Switzerland. In the current age of the internet, however, this national approach doesn’t adequately protect copyright and related rights. Various international agreements therefore ensure that Swiss authors are as equally protected as foreign authors provided that the respective country and Switzerland are party to the same treaty.


Numerous countries worldwide have signed the most important agreements on copyright (Revised Bern Convention, WCT) and related rights (Rome Convention, WPPT). Switzerland is a contracting party to both agreements.


The significance of bilateral trade agreements

In an international context, bilateral trade agreements that Switzerland concludes with individual states also play a key role in protecting copyright abroad. In such agreements, two states can mutually regulate specific issues for which no international agreement currently exists (e.g. the rights of broadcasting organisations or producers of audiovisual fixations).

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